[Milton-L] Abdiel (thought-sins)

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Wed Jul 2 10:54:50 EDT 2008

Harold Skulsky--
As a belated novice Miltonist, I'm honored (OK, pathetically grateful!) to
meet with your approval on a subject of this sort.

Jim R-- 
Now I understand your point, thanks. A difference would be that (I think)
Milton thought the natural law to be real and external to A&E, although
their reason is attuned to it and naturally inclined to cooperate. Reason
and law are the two faces of the coin logos. A&E might entertain ideas,
feelings, impulses that are contrary to natural law, but their reason is
supposed to leave those "unapproved." That is the issue in Adam's confession
to Raphael about his excessive admiration for Eve, which Adam understands to
be a bit off. A&E's emotions are fundamentally good, but may need to be
checked or kept in proportion. When Eve says, "in all things else, our
reason is our law," she doesn't mean they can act on any impulse, but rather
that they should follow the natural law through reason. As I understand it,
Milton's Stoic-flavored and rationalist Christian humanism is quite alien to
the line of Luther-Kierkegaard-etc. This is not to say a Kierkegaardian
perspective can't cast light on PL. Your posts on that theme have been very

--On the two kinds of knowledge of evil, see Jeffery Hodges' short and clear


On 7/2/08 9:32 AM, "James Rovira" <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:

[snip]> <<Now, where you and I are talking past each other is that I am
> persistently denying that the forbiddance of the fruit is the only
> rule for A&E. It is rather the only rule that needs to be spoken,
> because they already know, or have the ability to discern, the other
> rules. >>
> Yes, but what I have been arguing is that in the state of innocence
> all these other rules, whatever they are, are bound up in the
> prohibition not to eat of the tree.  Adam and Eve were not commanded
> to love God; they simply did.  They were not commanded to love one
> another; they simply did.  They were not commanded not to hate, not to
> sleep with animals (Adam was shown the animals were not suitable for
> him; he did not need to be commanded to stay away from them), not to
> lie, etc.  They did not need to be.  Again, a little Blake goes a long
> way here, whose Christ acted on impulse rather than rules.  Perfect,
> unfallen humanity does not need a multitude of rules; being perfect,
> they follow by nature that which is embodied in the ten commandments
> and subsequent teachings today.  Redemption moves us back to this
> state -- Christ is the "end of the law for everyone who believes."
> Law serves an intermediate function of helping to restore unfallen
> subjectivity through obedience to its commands.  My argument is that
> for Adam and Eve there is only one possible prohibition: do not learn
> about evil.  So what is a multitude of rules for us is only a single
> rule for them.
> But I think you make a good case that Milton thought otherwise.
> Jim R
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